Difference or differences?

Some grammar rules (and embarrassing mistakes!) transcend the uniqueness of different regions and style guides. This new International Grammar section by OnlineBookClub.org ultimately identifies those rules thus providing a simple, flexible rule-set, respecting the differences between regions and style guides. You can feel free to ask general questions about spelling and grammar. You can also provide example sentences for other members to proofread and inform you of any grammar mistakes.
Post Reply
User avatar
Facennagoss
Posts: 108
Joined: 19 Jul 2018, 06:43
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 19
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-facennagoss.html
Latest Review: Will of The Hill by Marshall Cobb

Difference or differences?

Post by Facennagoss »

I’ve just been penalised for failing to add an ‘s’ on difference but my sentence reads, ‘this helps the reader to understand the need for difference.’ The context being difference is humans. Was I incorrect in my spelling here?

User avatar
jgraney8
Posts: 163
Joined: 09 May 2018, 18:08
2018 Reading Goal: 100
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 34
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 37
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-jgraney8.html
Latest Review: Murder in Memory by Mike Thorne
Reading Device: B00JG8GOWU

Post by jgraney8 »

It might be clearer if you had written, "this helps the reader to understand the need for the difference." It is difficult to know the reason for the correction without more context. Does the context indicate more clearly you are writing about one difference?
“On the highest throne in the world, we still sit only on our own bottom.”
― Michel de Montaigne, The Complete Essays

User avatar
Facennagoss
Posts: 108
Joined: 19 Jul 2018, 06:43
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 19
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-facennagoss.html
Latest Review: Will of The Hill by Marshall Cobb

Post by Facennagoss »

Thank you for your response. Yes, it is clearly about one difference.

User avatar
fernsmom
Posts: 333
Joined: 07 Sep 2018, 06:17
Favorite Book: Smith
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 50
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-fernsmom.html
Latest Review: The Easter Make Believers by Finn Bell
Reading Device: 1400698987

Post by fernsmom »

I believe the correct wording would be "differences". Unfortunately other than the way it sounds I can't state why. But I agree that if it had been one difference that the word "the" before it would have made more sense then, stressing that it was one "difference" in that scenario.

Aditi Sapate
Posts: 380
Joined: 26 Apr 2019, 02:18
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 100
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-aditi-sapate.html
Latest Review: Winners and Losers in words and cartoons by Arthur Hartz

Post by Aditi Sapate »

Depends on whether it was one difference or many. In case of one difference, you could use 'the difference'. Whereas if there were many, you could say 'differences'.

Nickolas Farmakis
Posts: 626
Joined: 29 Sep 2019, 04:18
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 153
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-nickolas-farmakis.html
Latest Review: Zimbabwe Safari by Tim Good

Post by Nickolas Farmakis »

I think your sentence is correct, and whoever penalised you was too harsh.

User avatar
MrsCatInTheHat
Bookshelves Moderator
Posts: 3116
Joined: 31 May 2016, 11:53
2019 Reading Goal: 75
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 32
Favorite Book: Cry the Beloved Country
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 501
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-mrscatinthehat.html
Latest Review: The Stages of Rot by Eden Tijerina
Reading Device: B00JG8GOWU
Publishing Contest Votes: 0

Post by MrsCatInTheHat »

It should say either "the difference " or "differences."
Life without a good book is something the CatInTheHat cannot imagine.

User avatar
Amanda Deck
Previous Member of the Month
Posts: 573
Joined: 02 Jun 2018, 21:00
Currently Reading: A Sight For Psychic Eyes
Bookshelf Size: 113
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-amanda-deck.html
Latest Review: Winds of Fall by Alberto Mercado

Post by Amanda Deck »

If you're using 'difference' as a concept, it shouldn't have an 's', but it's true that it sounds odd.

User avatar
grace11cephas
Posts: 6
Joined: 12 Oct 2019, 02:19
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 6

Post by grace11cephas »

Depending on the sentence you are constructing..The two can be used at different occasions for example;

We cannot get along easily just because of our differences.

We have much difference in our thinking.

Post Reply

Return to “International Grammar”